Why is RMR Important?

Why testing your RMR is important to get a grasp of your overall health. Eric Viskovicz Explains.

WHAT IS RMR?

RMR, or Resting Metabolic Rate, plays a significant role in calorie burn, accounting for nearly 70% of total calories burned, as reported by Runner’s World. However, declines in RMR can pose challenges in maintaining weight loss.

What exactly is Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)? It’s essentially the number of calories your body burns while at rest, and it’s a key factor in weight management. Studies, such as those involving participants from the TV show “Biggest Loser,” have highlighted the difficulty many individuals face in maintaining weight loss over time. This challenge often arises due to metabolic adaptation—the decline in RMR that occurs following weight loss, which can be greater than expected based solely on changes in body composition.

However, there is hope. Living a fitness-focused lifestyle and prioritizing lean mass can help mitigate declines in RMR. By actively building lean mass, individuals can potentially counteract the drop in RMR associated with weight loss. In fact, for every increase in lean mass, there’s typically an accompanying increase in calorie burn—roughly 20 extra calories burned per day.

It’s important to note that while increasing lean mass can help stabilize RMR, individual factors such as genetics, hormone levels, and age play significant roles in this process. Those who strategically optimize their hormone levels and engage in muscle-building programs may experience the most substantial increases in lean mass, even as they lose overall body fat. Thus, understanding and leveraging these factors can be key to achieving long-term success in weight management and metabolic health.

 

Metabolism, quite simply, is the conversion of food to energy.

Metabolism is essentially the process of converting food into energy, while metabolic rate measures how much food or fat is converted to energy in a day. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) specifically quantifies the energy required to sustain basic bodily functions like heartbeat, breathing, and maintaining body heat while at rest.

Indirect calorimetry, a method for measuring metabolic rate, relies on the relationship between calorie burn and oxygen consumption. Burning one calorie (or kilocalorie) requires a specific amount of oxygen. By precisely measuring the volume of air exhaled and the concentrations of oxygen in both inhaled and exhaled air, indirect calorimetry accurately determines metabolic rate.

The KORR® indirect calorimeters utilize advanced technology to collect and analyze expired air, measuring both volume and oxygen concentration. By factoring in variables like humidity and temperature, the KORR® instrument provides highly accurate metabolic rate measurements, making it a reliable tool for assessing energy expenditure in a resting state.

 

Why Test RMR?

  1. PROOF OF “NORMAL” METABOLISM:  Many overweight individuals believe they have a slow metabolism, but statistically, most actually have average or higher-than-average metabolic rates. Testing RMR provides tangible evidence that their bodies can burn calories effectively, offering encouragement and motivation.

  2. STABILIZE WEIGHT LOSS: After weight loss, a patient’s RMR typically decreases below the expected level based on fat-free mass (FFM). However, maintaining the new weight for around 6 months often leads to a rise in RMR to the expected level. Knowing the precise calorie intake needed to maintain weight is crucial during this period.

  3. PINPOINT CALORIC WEIGHT LOSS ZONE: Understanding baseline RMR is essential when calorie restriction is part of a weight loss plan. KORR Metabolic Analyzers determine a “weight loss zone” for achieving a steady loss of 1 ½ pounds per week, or practitioners can calculate a personalized caloric goal based on RMR.

  4. DETECTION AND DIAGNOSIS OF HYPO-METABOLISM: If a patient has a clinically low metabolic rate, further evaluation and treatment by a physician may be necessary before successful weight loss can be achieved. Comparing Estimated RMR with Actual RMR and utilizing algorithms tailored to individual RMRs can guide personalized macronutrient recommendations for optimal results.

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